The Mauritius government is set to implement new smart identification (ID) cards from September this year in a move to improve public services for the country’s citizens and increase security.
“The new legislation brings amendments to the NIC (National Identity Card) Act, the Civil Status Act 2001 and the Finance Act 2009 in the context of the implementation of the Mauritius National Identity Scheme (MNIS) project,” said the Mauritius government in a statement.
“The NIC Act is being amended to provide expressly that the collection and processing of personal data, including biometric information, under that Act will be subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act.”
Navin Ramgoolam, the prime minister of Mauritius, said in parliament the current forms of identification in the country are prone to disaster and the new smart ID cards will reduce the number of forgery cases.
“The MNIS project is a key component of the e-government strategy, which the government has developed for implementation,” said Ramgoolam.
He said the MNIS project’s implementation is running smoothly.
Tassarajen Chedumbrum, the minister of information, communication and technologies, said in parliament the new smart ID cards will be equipped with security measures, rendering it difficult to tamper with or forge.
Ramgoolam said all the necessary systems and infrastructure will be ready to begin in September this year and all Mauritians above the age of 18 are expected to receive their smart ID cards during the course of next year.
The enhanced security features include the polycarbonate card containing laser-engraved particulars, NIC number, date of birth, gender, photograph and signature of the card holder.
The card will also be equipped with a contactless electronic chip and will store fingerprints through biometric information, civil status data and electronic certificates for security purposes.
To combat fraud and forgery the smart ID cards will include offset micro text, rainbow printing and guilloche printing. These technologies will reportedly make the card tamper-proof.
Ramgoolam said through good data governance and policies currently being established, the MNIS system will ensure citizen data remains error free.
“A good set of citizen data is a cornerstone of a good e-government system for bringing greater citizen convenience and services,” said Ramgoolam.